Link between Full-Time Working Parents and Childhood Obesity

Times have surely changed since the ‘Leave It to Beaver’ days of the 1950’s where most homes had only one full time working parent. As time and economy have changed households have had to resort to two family incomes to pay the bills. Both mom and dad are out working full time while the children are left alone to fend for themselves.

A recent study compared children between the ages of four and nine to a similar study done two generations earlier in the fifties. The results of the study showed that childhood obesity had risen fifty percent between the two generations.

There were many contributing factors including working parents. When analyzing the difference between the original group of children and the current group, researchers found that the modern group had a larger percentage of mothers who worked full time jobs. Although specific habits were not researched, the conclusion was that there were fewer family type meals and less supervision over the type of food products the children would choose to eat.

The study also concluded that children whose parents suffered from obesity were more likely to have children who also suffered from childhood obesity and were in need of weight loss or medical weight loss. These children were three to six times more likely to be obese than children whose parents were healthier with a BMI in the normal range.

While working parents were concluded to be a contributing factor in childhood obesity, it was only a small factor. Researchers felt that the permeation of high fat and high sugar junk food and food served in school cafeterias combined with children who were living more sedentary lifestyles were also major factors in the rise in childhood obesity.

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Although the article concludes that it was a small factor, any family that has two working parents will probably have less homemade meals made from fresh and unprocessed ingredients and more partially or fully prepared meals which are quite costly especially from Wegmans, fast food choices, and in Manlius that means Chinese food or pizza or processed food selections from the gorcery store. These families (including my own) need to be creative with meal planning and make an effort to spend more time at the gorcery store making better choices and more time at home cooking up better meals. Yes you may have to give up some other recreational activities, but your health is most important. And then make sure that both parents are on board with the plan. It is hard to put in play but once you get it going, it is so easy to sabatogue if one parent is not following along.